1 Tuesday, 17 April 2012
2 [Open session]
3 [Further Appearance]
4 --- Upon commencing at 3.03 p.m.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Good afternoon. Please be seated.
6 [The accused entered court]
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour.
9 This is case number IT-03-67-R77.4 in the matter of
10 Vojislav Seselj.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
12 Mr. Seselj, can you hear my words translated into Serbian?
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
15 Welcome to you and everyone in around the courtroom. As we have
16 not met before, let me present myself. I am Stefan Trechsel and I have
17 been appointed by this Chamber to preside over this trial.
18 For the record, Mr. Seselj, would you please identify yourself.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am Dr. Vojislav Seselj,
20 university professor, and the chief enemy of The Hague Tribunal -- the
21 chief and the main enemy of The Hague Tribunal.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Before going further, Mr. Seselj, as there is
23 always news about your health up and down, let me ask you whether you
24 feel fit to stand this appearance?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Trechsel, first of all there is
1 no reason for you to be concerned because the operation that the Western
2 intelligence services have resorted to, in order to gradually kill me, is
3 proceeding successfully and my health condition is worse and worse with
4 every day, but I am in a position to sit in the courtroom today.
5 But I want to draw your attention to the fact that you better
6 schedule a trial as soon as possible because I might die before it's
7 completed, before the American, French, and British intelligence services
8 manage to achieve their ultimate goal.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I take cognizance of what you are saying and you
10 can be assured that the Chamber is determined to proceed as speedily as
11 possible with this case.
12 Mr. Seselj, as you certainly know, you have under the statute and
13 the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal the right to remain
14 silent at all times during these proceedings. Am I right that I assume
15 you will not avail yourself of the right to remain silent?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I hope, Mr. Trechsel, that you are
17 perfectly well informed that in my case remaining silent is out of the
18 question. Remaining silent is insufferable for me, in life and
19 especially in the courtroom.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. I am aware of that. I asked you
21 because it is in the Rules that I must recall this.
22 I shall now explain to you the purpose of this hearing and the
23 proceedings to which it belongs.
24 On 29 March 2012, the Trial Chamber issued a decision amending
25 the Order in Lieu of Indictment in this case to include your failure to
1 comply with an order of 3 November 2011, which required you to remove a
2 confidential submission from your website by 15 November. On 5 April
3 2012, you received the Serbian version of this decision.
4 On the 29th March, the Trial Chamber also ordered that a
5 Further Appearance be held for the accused to plea in respect of the new
6 charge. Pursuant to Rule 50, if an amended indictment includes new
7 charges and the accused has already appeared before a Trial Chamber in
8 accordance with Rule 62, a Further Appearance shall be held as soon as
9 practicable to enable the accused to enter a plea on the new charge or
11 Today's hearing concerns the amended charge of contempt in the
12 Order in Lieu of Indictment. Specifically it concerns your failure to
13 comply with the order of 3rd November 2011. I recall that the Order in
14 Lieu of Indictment was originally issued on 9 May 2011, charging you with
15 contempt of the Tribunal pursuant to Rule 77 for failing to comply with
16 orders to remove from your web site three books and confidential
17 submissions which contain information pertaining to protected witnesses.
18 At the Initial Appearance on 6th July 2011, you pleaded not
19 guilty to this charge. On 21st October 2011, the Trial Chamber amended
20 the Order in Lieu of Indictment to include your failure to comply with an
21 order of 15 July 2011, to remove a fourth book from the web site because
22 it also contains confidential information.
23 A Further Appearance on November 11 2011, the Trial Chamber
24 entered a plea of not guilty on your behalf.
25 Now, Mr. Seselj, have you read and understood the contents of the
1 amended Order in Lieu of Indictment issued on 29 March 2011?
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Trechsel, I believe it is your
3 duty to read out that order in its entirety and then I would say whether
4 I understood it and whether I feel guilty or not.
5 To be quite frank, I received the order in good time, but I was
6 too lazy to read it. I had other things to do and other things to read.
7 I just didn't have time for it.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, you know the proceedings very well.
9 You're really conversant with them and used to them. And of course you
10 do, in fact, have the right to have the indictment read out. And I will
11 invite the Registrar, please, to read out the public version of the
12 Order in Lieu of Indictment.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Order in Lieu of Indictment. Vojislav Seselj, born in 1954, in
15 Sarajevo, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and currently on trial
16 before the Tribunal, is charged with one count of contempt of the
17 Tribunal pursuant to Rule 77(A) and 77(A)(ii) of the Rules as detailed
19 Factual allegations. Vojislav Seselj is responsible for a
20 web site, www.vseselj.com, on which he has published confidential
21 information in breach of Chamber orders to remove the information. The
22 material ordered to be removed are four books written by Vojislav Seselj
23 and six confidential filings in case IT-03-67-T and IT-03-67-R77.2-A, all
24 of which reveal confidential information about a number of protected
1 Vojislav Seselj has acknowledged receipt of orders which require
2 him to remove the books and confidential filings.
3 As of dates set in the orders, the books and the confidential
4 filings remained publicly available on the web site.
5 Charges. By his acts and omissions, Vojislav Seselj comitted
6 contempt of the Tribunal, punishable under this Tribunal's inherent power
7 and Rules 77(A) and 77(A)(ii) of the Rules, for knowingly and wilfully
8 interfering with administration of justice by failing to remove from the
9 web site confidential information in violation of orders of a Chamber.
10 Thank you, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
12 Mr. Seselj, have you understood this Order in Lieu of Indictment?
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I understood it ambiguously
14 or in two ways. I understood the text of the order because it was
15 written in clear language. But I also understood that since the
16 beginning of the endeavours of the Roman Catholic Inquisition and the
17 establishment of Index Librorum Prohibitorum, the notorious list of
18 forbidden books by the Roman Catholic church, it never happened that an
19 author was held criminally responsible for a larger number of books, and
20 I am proud of that.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Seselj, let me, as it is my duty by virtue
22 of Article 62(A)(ii), to satisfy myself that you have correctly
23 understood the indictment. Let me explain that this indictment only
24 concerns your refusal to obey the order to remove these books from the --
25 from your web site. It does not, in fact, concern the contents. And the
1 original order, you could have - and you have, maybe - appealed against
2 those orders, but now those orders are in force. And all this trial is
3 concerned with is your disobedience. I think it is as simple as that.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. Trechsel, we understand
5 each other perfectly well. The ICTY demands from me that I destroy my
6 books. They asked Giordano Bruno, and Galileo Galilei once upon a time
7 to renounce their theories. Bruno refused and was burned at the stake.
8 And Galileo, to save his life, renounced his theories and learning. I am
9 not prepared to distance myself from my books, and if I am not prepared
10 to do that, then I am not prepared to destroy them either.
11 Removing them from the web site would mean their destruction, at
12 least in one form of their appearance in public, and I am not going to do
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: We are not dealing with this right now.
15 Technical these are formal proceedings and that may come up at another
16 stage. If one reads the transcript, one gets the feeling that you have
17 said the ICTY had asked Giordano Bruno and Galileo Galilei to renounce
18 their theories, but that, in fact, was not the ICTY. That was much
19 earlier. But I think you are aware of that.
20 Mr. Seselj --
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Trechsel, I must note that it
22 is up to the quality of your interpreters. Since I arrived here, I have
23 major objections to the work of your interpreters. But even the
24 Roman Catholic Inquisition was a kind of international tribunal in its
25 own time. It had international nature. Wherever they tried people the
1 judges could be of different nationalities. The things that mattered was
2 that they were convinced and faithful Catholics, and they were able to
3 burn people at the stake. So there is no essential difference between
4 the ICTY and the Roman Catholic Church.
5 On the first day that I appeared here, I drew your attention to
6 the fact that your uniforms, your robes of judges, irresistibly recall
7 those of the Roman Catholic Inquisition.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Your comparison of the Roman Catholic Church and
9 Court with an international tribunal might be interesting.
10 Unfortunately, this is not the situation and place where we can go on
11 with this discussion.
12 Mr. Seselj, are you prepared to enter a plea today, to say
13 whether you are guilty -- you plead guilty or not, yes or no?
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. I plead not guilty.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. And I ask the Registrar to enter a
16 plea of not guilty which is now also on record.
17 The supporting material for the Order in Lieu of Indictment has
18 been served on you, Mr. Seselj. You have also acknowledged receipt of
19 these papers. It is not very much indeed.
20 The trial will be scheduled in co-ordination with other cases
21 before this Tribunal. We will endeavour to hold it as soon as possible,
22 and you will be given further information as to the date of pre-trial
23 conference and the commencement of the trial.
24 Mr. Seselj, do you already have a concept of how you plan to
25 present your Defence, whether you want to call witnesses, how much time
1 you need - if any - to prepare?
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] First of all I want to let you
3 know, Mr. Trechsel, that I have four status issues to raise at this
4 conference. So you should bear that in mind.
5 Second, concerning the upcoming trial, I already said at the
6 previous Status Conference or my first appearance, because this is
7 already my third first appearance in this case, that I intend to testify
8 myself and that I would call two to three witnesses who are conversant
9 with the functioning of my web site.
10 As regards my testimony, the chief -- the examination-in-chief
11 would be conducted by my chief legal advisor, MA Dejan Mirovic, attorney
12 at law. As for the other witnesses, I would examine them myself. Since
13 the Prosecution is not represented here, the Trial Chamber is in charge.
14 I suppose that it is you and your colleagues who would conduct
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: That is the case. Thank you. We will probably
17 have the opportunity to go into further detail at a pre-trial conference.
18 This brings our hearing to an end. I thank everyone in and
19 around the courtroom for their assistance, in particular --
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I raise my fourth status
21 issues? I have warned you that I have four issues concerning status to
23 First, I want to raise the issue of lack of jurisdiction by this
24 Trial Chamber and this Tribunal to prosecute me in this case. This lack
25 of jurisdiction is based primarily on the illegality of
1 The Hague Tribunal which was founded unlawfully --
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sorry, Mr. Seselj, you can state these four
3 status issues but not argue them now because they will have to be heard
4 by the Chamber. So it's just a waste of time if you go into argument
5 now. Just state the four points in one sentence each.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes.
7 One thing is what I am going to say before the Trial Chamber at
8 trial. However, this is a preliminary stage, and I am making an
9 objection concerning lack of jurisdiction so that the Trial Chamber
10 should decide on that objection before the trial. Instead of submitting
11 it in writing I am raising it orally, because these kind of proceedings
12 are abbreviated in nature. The entire procedure is abbreviated. It is
13 so abbreviated that we don't even have a Prosecutor here.
14 I just meant to state my objection as to lack of jurisdiction in
15 two or three sentences so that you and your colleagues could decide on it
16 before the beginning of the trial, and then once the trial begins I will
17 go into detail --
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Seselj, this is a Tribunal which, although
19 you may not acknowledge it, is very eager to conduct proceedings fairly.
20 And this implies that it is the full Chamber which will have to hear your
21 arguments, not just me today in this First Appearance hearing. So you
22 may name your four objections, but please do not argue them now because
23 it is loss of time, loss of your words.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right, Mr. Trechsel. You and
25 your colleagues can also get all the information from the transcript of
1 today's First Appearance. It is therefore not necessary, not
2 indispensable, for your colleagues to be present; otherwise they would
3 need to be present during my plea. Because if I had pleaded guilty, they
4 would have had to be present here in the same moment to make a judgement.
5 Since I did not plead guilty, I plead not guilty, I am now making
6 an objection as to lack of jurisdiction. You, as a Trial Chamber, even
7 if this Tribunal had been founded regularly, do not have jurisdiction to
8 conduct these kind of proceedings against me. That is the gist of my
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Seselj, you said you wanted to raise four
11 points and you would name them. Now for the fourth or fifth time you
12 have repeated the same challenge to the jurisdiction of this Tribunal.
13 What are the three others ones? If you want to raise them or to mention
14 them now, then please do so succinctly or otherwise we simply adjourn.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Certainly. Then I will move to the
16 other three challenges.
17 The second one is actually my demand for the recusal of
18 Judge O-Gon Kwon. That is also a preliminary issue. O-Gon Kwon is the
19 Judge who confirmed the fourth indictment against me in January 2003.
20 O-Gon Kwon presided over the first proceedings for contempt of court
21 against me where I was unlawfully convicted. O-Gon Kwon presided over
22 the second trial for contempt of court against me, where I was again
23 unlawfully convicted. And now O-Gon Kwon appears as the president in the
24 third trial for contempt of court in my case. And that is impossible in
25 any civilized country in the world.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: First, you go again into arguments, and I asked
2 you just to state the objection which you can do in one sentence.
3 Second, it is me who presides over this trial and not Judge Kwon, as I
4 have stated in the beginning. Now your third objection, please.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] My third objection is actually a
6 request. In view of the fact that I have been detained for nine years
7 and two months continuously, and in a civilized world detention is used
8 to achieve three objectives: Firstly, to prevent the accused from
9 fleeing; secondly, from influencing witnesses; and three, to prevent him
10 from repeating the crime. There is no other way in which detention
11 should restrain me from realising my elementary civic and professional
12 rights. In Serbia on the 6th of May --
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I take it that your third request is to be
14 released; is that correct?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No, no. Don't fret, Mr. Trechsel.
16 That wouldn't be my request. My request from the Trial Chamber - and you
17 are the only active Trial Chamber in the first instance that I am dealing
18 with at the moment. In my main trial the Trial Chamber has completed its
19 work and they will no longer wish to hold any Status Conferences. In the
20 second proceedings for contempt of court, we are in the appeals stage of
21 the proceedings. So this is the only first instance active proceedings
22 that is currently taking place. That is why I am asking -- I am
23 requesting from the Trial Chamber that you preside over -- in view of the
24 fact that on the 6th of May there are elections in Serbia, that I should
25 be allowed to hold a press conference for Serbian journalists by a
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Your request is on record. And the fourth
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have to say something else about
5 this request because the nature of the request is such that I have to
6 further explain it. I hope that you understand that I have the right to
7 elaborate my third request. How can I expect you to decide on it if I do
8 not sufficiently explain it. You want me to finish as soon as possible,
9 Mr. Trechsel, but this is not smart. Please be patient and bear with me
10 and you won't have any problems with me. You may have problems with the
11 gist of what I am saying, but you will not have any procedural issues.
12 Just a little patience, please.
13 I, as a detainee, have the right to perform all of my
14 professional duties, which will not go towards any of the three reasons
15 for detention. My political party is appearing as a candidate in the
16 elections. I am the first on the list for parliamentary elections, and
17 my wife, Jadranka Seselj, is already a registered presidential candidate.
18 We all have vested interested -- the two of us have vested interest in me
19 appearing in public in a regular way by means of a videolink. This would
20 be a negligible cost for The Hague Tribunal. And it is of the utmost
21 interest for the Serbian Radical Party.
22 I want to be given a chance to explain to the citizens of Serbia
23 why it is important to overthrow the regime in power, and why it is even
24 more important to prevent a --
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Seselj --
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] A group of traitors head by
2 Tomislav Nikolic from taking over.
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: You are now, Mr. Seselj, actually engaging in
4 political speech and probably addressing people who will be watching this
5 on the Internet in Serbia and that is not purpose of this hearing. But
6 your demand is on record and the Trial Chamber will eventually decide on
8 Your fourth point. What was your fourth point?
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I demand that you decide on this
10 issue well in time in order to put in place the conditions for organising
11 a videolink and a press conference by means of that videolink.
12 And the fourth issue that I wish to raise is an objection. In
13 these proceedings, again my elementary rights are being violated and that
14 right is the right to expeditious trial. You, yourself, mentioned that
15 the Order in Lieu of Indictment was issued on the 9th of May, 2011. Why
16 wasn't the trial completed before the 9th of June, 2011? It has been
17 prolonged and you have been waiting for something new to appear. If you
18 go on procrastinating like that, the trial will never happen because
19 there will always be something new that will crop up.
20 Imagine a situation where you arrest somebody who comitted a real
21 crime, and then you procrastinate, you hesitate, you do not start the
22 trial against him, and then you create a situation where he repeats his
23 crime again and again and again, and it is all possible if somebody is at
24 large. The nature of "my crimes," in quotation marks, that are ascribed
25 to me are such that I can commit "those crimes," again in quotation
1 marks, while I am in prison. Nobody can prevent me from doing that.
2 Even if I were to be isolated behind 15 locks and if I were prevented any
3 contact with the outside world, they can still not prevent me from
4 reoffending, especially due to the fact that The Hague Tribunal is
5 engaging in sheer nonsense. They convict me for having published a book
6 and they order me to remove the book from the Internet site and then --
7 again you're losing patience, aren't you?
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, I have to see to it that the procedure
9 runs within its frame, and we have on record your complaint that these
10 proceedings have lasted an undue length of time and that is all what we
11 can do today. We have it on record and it will be for the Chamber or
12 whoever to decide.
13 Do you have any further points that you want to raise today?
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to provide an
15 additional document for my last objection.
16 Imagine, for example, that a Trial Chamber has convicted a person
17 for the crime of murder - and this is my additional argument - and that
18 person is sentenced to a prison sentence, and then in the statement of
19 reasons it is stated that that person is duty-bound to bury the victim of
20 that crime. Anywhere in the world such judges would be found idiots.
21 And if people at the Hague Tribunal do that, then it is found to be
22 appropriate. They convict me for having published a book and for putting
23 it on my Internet site, and then they keep on convicting me yet again and
24 again for not wanting to remove that book from the Internet site. Does
25 that sound normal, to you?
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Microphone not activated] I am not here to
2 answer that question, Mr. Seselj.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Your Honour, microphone. Microphone for
4 Judge Trechsel.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: The hearing is adjourned.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] You have managed to flee in good
7 time, Mr. Trechsel.
8 --- Whereupon the Further Appearance adjourned at
9 3.39 p.m.